Putting the "public" back in education, keeping teachers out of administrative decisions, cutting class sizes and increasing vocational training are among the proposals of four candidates running for the Precinct 3 seat of the Davis County School Board.
(BU) One of greatest problems facing education is the lack of financial and community support, candidate Edrice Christensen said.
"The public must be back in `public education.' The public needs to be informed and involved today, not next year," said Christensen.
Christensen, a Kaysville homemaker and regional PTA director, said she believes she can deal with educational issues "today" after sending her children through the Davis County school system and being actively involved in educational issues at the state, county and school levels.
"I know from my involvement in the PTA, and attending 97 percent of the board of education meetings for 12 years, how important having informed people elected to the board of education is," she said.
She doesn't believe that increasing class size or cutting other programs is the right approach to raising teacher salaries.
"I don't think a pay increase could compensate for the increased load on teachers," she said.
She said she currently opposes the tax limitation initiatives, but could change her mind if she can be convinced they will positively benefit the state.
"The initiatives have given us an opportunity to study and learn and then vote. I support that," she said.
She has served on the district screening committee that helped select a superintendent, assistant superintendent and principals. She has been involved on the district's structure committee and has worked on curriculum areas for gifted and talented, health, vocational and social studies programs.
(BU) While teachers should be a source of advice, they should be kept out decision-making and policy development at district schools, said Newell J. Law.
"Policy development and decision-making should be done by representatives of the public to avoid potential conflicts of interest," Law, a Fruit Heights resident, said.
At the same time, Law said administrators and educators should be given more latitude and incentives to increase productivity.
"This may necessitate modifications to long-standing policies, priorities, definitions and organizational structures," Law said.
Law said education risks being degraded because of an "unwise reaction" to limited funding. The departure of the best qualified teachers because of low salaries also concerns him. He supports pay increases for the teachers even if it means cutting programs or increasing class sizes.
He said he does not support the tax limitation initiatives, but does support the concept of reducing taxes. However, he said the basic "how tos" would have to be worked out before he would support a tax-reduction measure. If the lax limitations do pass, Law said, priorities in the school district will have to be better defined.
"I would not eliminate programs so much as I would enhance productivity," Law said.
Law said that he supports the discussion of AIDS in schools, but objects to teaching about contraceptives.
Law, a lifelong Davis County resident, is employed as an engineering technical coordinator at Unisys Corp. He graduated from University of Utah with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He serves on the Fruit Heights Planning Commission.
(BU) J. David Potter, a former Clearfield High School teacher, said if he is elected to the school board he would promote better utilization of school buildings and help students become better prepared for the "world of work."
Potter, a Farmington resident, said he is concerned most about student success, employee morale, vocational education and funding programs. He says his experience as a teacher would give him insight and expertise to help solve these problems.
"I would like to see fuller utilization, including staff, buildings and facilities," Potter said.
He has proposed a closer working relationship with post-secondary schools to help students become better prepared for jobs.
He said he supports teaching about AIDS in schools and approves of the new state AIDS curriculum guidelines.
"I think that parent involvement and concerns must be addressed," he said.
Teachers should take a more active role in decision-making and policy development, Potter said.
He said the two recent school board decisions - requiring students and employees to tell the school district if they have AIDS and having drug-sniffing dogs patrol schools - are both "questionable."
Potter doesn't support the tax limitation initiatives.
"The limitation initiatives would kill public education," he said.
If the initiatives pass and cuts are to be made, Potter said they would have to be "across-the-board cuts." However, he said he would have to carefully study the effects cuts would have on students before eliminating programs.
(BU) For Lynn Summerhays, candidate from Farmington, three challenges face Davis County's educational system: thinning-out large classes and teacher-student ratios, improving teacher morale and enhancing moral development of students.
Summerhays said he wants to use his financial and administrative background to help utilize limited funding to meet the challenges. Another idea is to create school-level study committees to implement needed reforms.
"Local, school-level study committees of parents, teachers, and administrators have the intelligence, motivation and ability to recommend cost-effective and educationally sound reform decisions."
He said that increasing class sizes to help boost teachers' salaries is not an acceptable option.
"Teacher-student ratios need to decline, particularly in core curriculum classes," he said.
Summerhays wants teachers to be involved in decision-making and policy development at all levels of the district school system.
Summerhays does not support the tax limitation initiatives saying that their effects would be the "worst of all economies."
For the past ten years Summerhays has been a limited partner and manager for office building and shopping center development at Boyer and Co.
He graduated from George Washington University with a master's of science degree in administration. He was also graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah. He currently is chairman of the American Cancer Society, Utah Division. He recently served on the Knowlton Elementary School extended-day committee.
Stanley M. Gardner, Dennis B. Knoles and Hyrum W. Smith have withdrawn from the precinct race, but their names will appear on the ballot because they withdrew after an official deadline.
Henry Heath, who currently holds the area's school board seat, has decided not to seek re-election in the precinct that covers Centerville, Farmington, Fruit Heights, Kaysville and south Layton.